tv [untitled] August 11, 2013 8:30pm-9:01pm PDT
neighborhood watch city, i know and watch out for my neighbor, i won't get that kind of feeling and vibe in a pet food express store, so it means a lot to me and it means a lot to my dog and i know that might be irrelevant to some people but it's relevant to me. thank you. >> good evening, any name is eric ceg, i was born at ucsf, i had the privilege of going all through public schools in san francisco, i went to lowell high school, berkeley, i practiced for the federal public defender giving back my time and trying to give back to this community. i've had the privilege o*f having several rescue animals, most of whom have quom from san francisco animal care and control, a cat, a dog, another
cat, another dog, i have a rescued animal now, owned property in the marina, i've been to pet food express, i've been to catnip and bones, i know this area, i know it well. this area is well served by the current status of the pet stores that are currently there. pet food express has a location 1.1 miles away, it's a perfectly great location, people can choose to go there, the issue here is simple and direct and concrete, it's formula retail, no matter how we slice it, pet food express is formula retail, i know they started off small, i applaud them for growing big, the issue is one particular location, the location that this commission dealt with, what is it, four years, i can't even keep track. >> thank you.
>> hello, commissioners, my name is megan johnson, i'm a native san franciscan, i own one of the pet stores on market street, i would call myself more of a hobbyist than a business person because i don't really get paid because i don't make enough money because i'm close to pet food express, that's some personal information for me to share but i think it's important for you to make a decision on the small businesses that are in the marina, you guys have a big, important job to keep the face of san francisco from looking the same in every neighborhood. i drive through oakland, i see pet food express on every -- in every block, every strip mall,
pet food express is one of the top ten chains in the united states, they have many stores, as many of the top 10, to have that in san francisco and be able to have just that same cookie cutter throughout, it's boring, i went to london a few weeks ago, there's a star bucks, a pier 1, why should people come to san francisco if it's the same as sacramento, please keep san francisco unique and help support our small businesses, we need your help. thank you. >> at this time, if there's any other public comment, if you want to step up. >> patricia voi. a few weeks ago, i found out that the marina merchants, somebody went to lombard street with a piece of paper saying
sign this, our association wants pet food express. we had to get a vote and try to figure out what to do. we found a girl by the name of diana smith who doesn't even know us who worked on the obama campaign and brook safrp son who's an ex-president of kalt ham association to come down the street with us to make sure we had a fair, safe vote on what the merchants really wanted, and in four or five days just so find the legitimate owners and the legitimate managers, the vote came out 57 no, 8 yes and no abstention, here is a copy of all of it, also at the same time, we did the study of the vacancies, we found 12 vacancy, two of them work is being done, one for an office but we don't
know who the office is, so we included it, another one is work being done and they would not tell us and harold hugatiana that has been vacant. no one has discussed the real issue that's in front of you. it is called if you overturn this legislation that you voted on a few years ago, you are opening up the barn door. where developers can come in with lots of money and get turned down and then they wait around, leave their businesses in shams and then come back and try again, once again wasting taxpayer's money. the question is, nothing's changed, for your years, the place has been an absolute blight and i suggest that you
oppose this. i think i as president and coordinator -- >> thank you, your time is up. >> okay, thank you. >> hello, my name is seal ya shoe man and i'm a 25 year resident of san francis and a life long animal lover, i'm here to lend my support to pet food express. i've served as the cat volunteer trainer training volunteers who want to work with our shelter cats, i f*irts came to volunteer at san francisco care and animal control because i loved cats, one of the amazing side benefits of this whole experience is to have met some of the most amazing people, people share a passion to do what we can for animal, our animal care and control staff, our rescue partners and community contributors.
with a marketing budget, i believe it's 0 dollars, the san francisco animal care and control does not have the resources to get the word out about our shelter, so when individuals like mike murray and pet food express come forward to lift us up by their generous offer of sharing their resources to provide community based solutions for those animals, this goes a long, long way. you've already heard in detail from jane tobin of friends of animal control about our cat adoption center, through this adoption sent e pet food express has shown an amazing example of what can be done when our citizens inspired by their love of animals and a desire to put their resources out there and make it happen. as a member of the small business community, i fully understand all the struggles and frustrations but for the city and county of san francisco, when a company like pet food express to reach out
your own department and help them find a home for our homeless animals, we need to pay attention and i hope that you consider this with this measure. thank you very much. >> good afternoon, my name is cheryl lan, i am a marina resident, i have an 11 and a half big yorkie, he couldn't make it today. i was moved to come here because of the reports of people being intimidated and people were threatened and some people were afraid to come and speak out because of anonymous calls, threatening extreme violence, that's not right. i don't know why this has become such a contentious issue, there's plenty of room for small businesses, as it is
now, i won't walk my dog on lombard because it's filthy and it seems dangerous, i don't want to get his little paws dirty. i'm troubled with the representation that the marina community made that it speaks for the marina community, you have to pay them 25 dollars a year and they can't verify that their members live in the marina, they require an e-mail address and 50 buck, i've written them and let them know how they determine what *f whether the members even live near the marina and they have not responded to that. i'm here to urge you to approve the application for the permit. thank you. >> hello, i'm here to speak in support of pet food express on
lombard street. my name is arlene scene, i've lived in san francisco 32 year, i'm the daughter of a small business owner laundry and i'm an sbrep near, i live and shop at the marina. i now live a few blocks from another pet food express and a small pet food store, they are both doing very well, the pet food store, there's always been a pet food store there and they do a good job, and so it's fine, pet food express has not stopped their business at all. my primary support of pet food express is thousands of animals lives have been saved by pet food express and i love animals, i hope you do too, compassion is an important value in our society and in our world, i support pet food
express. >> good evening, my name is stephen cornell and i've owned a business in san francisco for 37 years and it's been in san francisco for 108 years and i've been a member and president of certain merchant groups in san francisco. from the planning department's website, under formula use, it says "in an evident to protect san francisco vibrant small business sector and provide an environment for business innovations, it mandates specific controls of formula use". the pet food supply is already oversaturated, there is no benefit for allowing this to occur, pet food express is one of the major causes of major saturation in the market. they already have three mega stores already, and there are 50 locations in the immediate san francisco bay area. the primary impact of allowing
pet food express to have this conditional use permit would put small businesses out of business by dismantling small competitor, it would not enhance pet food supplies in san francisco, it would not create job, it would steal them from one small local san francisco business, it would not create new sales tax revenues, it would severally move the sales from one local neighborhood business to another. there would be no benefit to the city and there would be a great loss of small local neighborhood businesses, thank you. >> good evening, commissioners, from one san franciscan to another, i want to thank you for hearing this and bearing in
there and hanging in there for a long process, and i wanted to take the opportunity to thank the veteran that's here tonight that gives us the freedom to hear these debates, putting his life on the line for that, that's the frame you've given me and i want to thank the family that took care of your dog and the people that are here with the vested interest and taking care of his dog, i want to recognize and applaud you for that. my position is no modus operandi to what might be done right and the right way forward, i was struck by a couple of words that was put forward by the planning department presentation which was on balance, and it's very obvious that you're going to hear compelling arguments from both sides for every side
that's against it, the other side will produce so many that's for it, the ups games will balance so i'm left wondering how do you make that decision and again it comes back to hearing those words where they say unbalanced, i'm not not a formula retail advocate, i'm not a formula retail foe, diversity has all businesses big and small, a lot of negative statements made about good people tonight on both sides which i'm ashamed to say it, you can have bad people in a small, business and large business and you can have good people in all three. i think pet food express are from the heart good people and i think that on balance, it will be the right way forward and we need to do this, thank you. >> is there any additional public comment?
okay, seeing none, there's no additional public comment, it is lied and opening up to commissioner, commissioner antonini. >> thank you all for testifying, very interesting and certainly a lot of good things being done by the small pet stores as well as pet food express, i'm interested in hearing those comments, but i think in my opinion, that the perception of many of you as to the competitive dangers of pet food express are misplaced because as our families were growing, our children were growing, we had a series of dog, they were all big dogs, labs, retrievers, shepherds, and i don't think i went to a small pet food store to buy bags because they were big bags so we went to places like
costco orbecause these are 50 pound bag and is you're going to search around for parking on chest nut street and you find a few blocks away and you have to lug that thing in the car and it's not really practical, but what i think is, you know, the competition, it's a different kind of product and if there is a store that has parking and is going to make it easier for that customer who needs this particular supply, in fact, the man who was a pet food wholesaler made it clear that some of the smaller pet stores carried products that weren't in pet food express or any of the larger stores. it's a different market and they can co-exist, and like anyone else for all kinds of products all shop in a neighborhood hardware store and once in a while, i'll go to a big box store where you have to get a huge quantity of something, but most of the time, it's not worth making the
drive to try to do that. as far as the particular site in mind here, in an ideal world, this is -- it has always been a formula retail site, and if we really could dictate exactly what should happen, the building should be demolished, it should be built with parking underneath and we should put a couple of floors of housing on the top and put retail on the first couple of floors but that's a big project and i don't think that's not what we're talking about today, that's something in the ideal world that could sometime happen and if we were building a new facility today, even a pet food express that needed parking, we would have them put the parking below and the store above, that's just how we do things but things were done differently nr the 60's i think when that was first built or the earl 07's, it was originally a bank of america
and then it was a blockbuster, and so i would hope that pet food express will see it in their best interest to increase their presence in san francisco, perhaps bring executive offices back here, perhaps another distribution center, i can understand where many of your stores are outside san francisco, it would be good to not have to go over the bridges to distribute, but it wouldn't hurt to have more of a presence here and perhaps also think about the map that showed the pet stores showed nothing out on ocean avenue, nothing on the outer mission, nothing on geneva, those would be good locations to have an additional store to service that part of the city, that doesn't take away from what we have before us today, i think this is a gad project, there's an argument about the number of vacancies but supervisor ferrel's office
counted 24, somebody else counted 17, my dental office is on the other end of lombard and there are a lot of places that should be vacant that are establishments that businesses are not what they purport to be and there's a lot of illegal activities going on, so if you count those also, there's a lot of problems there, but it's highway 101, it's a lot different from chest nut or union street. nobody's going to be sitting out there having cappuccinos outside in front of lombard street, it is a u.s. highway and people were talking about how we weren't going to gain anything, i think we will gain things by having pet food express because one of the speakers spoke about going to marine to get the pet food and i think people from the marina, people from the richmond district will quickly hop over the golden gate bridge when they have a big purchase to
make and get big bags of food and we may bring some of those back into san francisco by having that kind of facility, again, you're comparing apples to oranges, they serve different kinds of foods and serve different market, there was the market study, and you can always find a study that will say anything, this particular study did not show that it was detrimental to the other stores and there was one speaker who came up and talked about the fact that he does well having a pet food express near where his thing is and the animal store connection who put a store in burlingane, if they're that big a threat, these people would have trouble surviving or not locate near them. a lot of recommendations from group that is are supportive, of course the chamber and the spca, we heard about a lot of these, but another thing about it is that area of lombard
needs a lot of work and it would be nice to see the lights on at night or during the day and it brings a presence of cars coming in and out and people using it. i'm not exactly sure what's going on, we didn't hear anything from the landlords on this and everybody's kind of talking about what the condition of the store was for the last four years since our earlier disapproval, but we don't really know what's in the lease, we don't know if sublets are allows, we don't know what was demanded. i was involved in a sale recently and the buyer of this -- what i sold him had to guarantee he had a lease to the bank before they gave him a loan and most people, they want a longer lease, and so i'm not saying that it's not impossible to get out of the lease but i would think it would have been pretty difficult to do that in this instance.
then there's the group that talks about linkage, every type of store is a different store, just because we approve pet food express does not mean it's going to be carte blanche for some other formula retail sto, we handle each one on an individual basis and whether one is right and one is wrong, that's something we'll handle when each one is before us. so, those are my main points. i also did -- the question has been brought up about the office being in oakland and there was an interesting article in the san francisco business times a few years ago when pet food express relow skated its distribution center from san leandro to oakland and bee an ka* torres mentioned it, so that may be something that we should learn from, maybe san francisco, we tried to do that, we kept some
businesses here, we attracted some new ones, if we want to attract businesses, we need to give them new incentives because we have tax that is don't exist in other places. another problem is i think a misconception, the real enemy is online purchasing, i don't think it's a big enough part of it, three or four people i think had discussed this issue, they said i haven't bought pet food for years, i go online and purchase it, nobody wins from that except ups, we're talk about obesity is a problem, it's going to get worse if people just touch their mouse and don't ever do anything, i think some of those buyers would be persuaded to purchase if they could make it a little easier for them, and finally, our staff has given a lot of good reasons to support this project and i'm in support of
it. >> commissioner hillis? >> thank you, everybody, for testifying, it's nice to see so many people who care about their neighborhood and their pets. we've had these debates before with formula retail. i think clearly pet food express is successful, it's got 47 stores, but we rarely have so many people come out supportive of the store, so i think that speaks a lot to pet food express and what they've done and they're giving back to their communities they're in and their adoption program, i know my kids go to mckinley elementary and i know pet foods express has been a sponsor, so thank you, but i think this debate is more about formula retail and pet food express is clearly a formula retailer. you know, there's a bias in the planning code, mostly put into the planning code by the voters for diverse neighborhood commercial districts and for
small independent businesses, and against frankly formula retail, and what's in the code is we have to have this hearing, we wouldn't have to have this hearing if it was an independent small business and we have this hearing and we've got this bar that says it's got to be necessary and desirable and that's not necessary and desirable to me, it's necessary and desirable to the community, the people who live and shop and work in the marina, and i think on balance, luke, to use your phrase and the staff's, although it's not unanimous, the neighbors who work and live in the marina don't believe this is unnecessary and desirable and don't want this formula retailer on lombard street, so i'm not supportive, i'm also cognizant that this was here before in 2009, there is a pet food express fairly close by and others in the city, so i can't be supportive
of this. >> commissioner sugaya? >> yes, there's issues and under consideration in the staffer, this one about the market impact analysis by the connelly group, the subject store will not cause other specialty retail store ins san francisco to lose sales revenue, however, there's a caveat in there because it says retail stores in san francisco as a group. now, i don't have the specifics of the data and i think the woman would was here is gone, but -- unless she's here. >> she's right there. >> so, how is it -- can you interpret that for me, please.
i guess i'm wondering if you use that phrase as a group, does that mean if this store comes in and a few stores happen to close because they're nearby or something, but as a group in san francisco, the pet retail stores still continue to have growth. is that what you're trying to tell me? >> what i meant by that is i don't have insiekt no would it be appropriate for me to have insiekt on the function of a specific store, so some people call it the marvelous, the darwinian rule of retail, stores fail, businesses fame, i'm a small business owner and i know that very well, but as a group, the group of small specialty head stores in the past have done well, in fact, there ended up being more specialty pet stores than there were before the pet food
express opened because the market is growing very rapidly. san franciscans preferbacker prefer to buy their food somewhere other than the grocery store or the big box store. they prefer a specialty retail store of which pet food express is one and the smaller merchants are also in that same category. >> okay, thank you. >> commissioner wu? >> also in the staff report, this is based on the commission's decision from 2009 or 10, there was a finding that i think we asked the project sponsor to -- >> no? >> asked the project sponsor to work with the city to see if there couldn't be a location somewhere in a different neighborhood, and specifically
it says to identify neighborhoods which are underserved by the pet retail business or consideration of a retail site, and it's reported here that the small business commission said that the project sponsor came and they discussed sites in the bayview, however, in the next sentence, it says pet food express reports that they're working actively with the real estate act to identify appropriate sites on mission and the excel sh*er or on the mission avenue, so i don't know what happen today the bayview investigation. also, i guess from my perspective, i was wondering why a number of years later, we have an entirely different recommendation from staff than we had in the first place. and why we are now -- if
conditions have changed, if more pet stores came in and are facing competition or something like that, but it seems like the analysis was narrowed to just take a look at the lombard street neighborhood commercial district. and yet all of the findings that we made previously are based on a larger perspective and include union and chest nut, and some of the arguments i think are even more compelling now than they were then because the competition says the three or four pet stores that were pointed out as providing the kinds of products and retail sales and things that were needed would face competition from pet food